Secular Student Alliance National Conference

Schedule

All Times Listed in Pacific Time

Friday
12pm

SSA Pre-Con: Become a Secular Advocate

Secular students across the country are rising up and taking action to protect the separation of church and state. They are running for student government, and winning! They are writing op-eds and impacting their communities through service. Attend this session to learn more about how you can take action as an individual student to have a real impact on secular issues.

Friday
1:30pm

SSA Pre-Con: Build a Secular Community

Having access to a secular community on campus helps students thrive in their personal and academic lives. Attend this session to learn more about how you can build a strong community for secular students on your campus. Hear from current students and alumni about the effective strategies they used to ensure their chapter's success!

Friday
3pm

SSA Pre-Con: Be an Intersectional Activist

What does it mean to be a secular student? What does it mean to be a secular advocate in today’s world? How can we build an inclusive space for all secular students to gather? How does our secularism intersect with our other identities? What issues are secular issues? And how can we work together to address them? In ten years, what will the secular student movement become? And what role will you play in getting us there!

Saturday
9am

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The Role of Rituals in Secular Life
Sasha Sagan in Conversation with Greg Epstein

Sasha Sagan, author of the critically acclaimed book For Small Creatures Such As We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World, is joined by her friend, bestselling author of Good Without God and humanist chaplain Greg Epstein to discuss how the non-religious can create uplifting celebrations and rites of passage rooted in science.

Saturday
10:30am

photo circle jocelyn

Zoom is great to help us meet with people all over the world at any moment.  But if we want people to volunteer with a local event or have a group to explore a local trail with, we need ‘actual’ local people. What does it take to build a local group? How can a group expand to meet the needs of a variety of people? This presentation explores building and developing a local group using the QVC approach.

Saturday
12pm

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Solve Climate Change Using The Tools of Democracy

Young people are facing a lot today: a pandemic, forced online education, economic fallout, and most of all, climate change. They are fighting for their future and their voices are powerful in the call for change. Citizens' Climate Lobby is a grassroots advocacy organization that works to build political will for climate solutions. Join Clara to learn about CCL's climate proposal, methodology, and how you can make a difference.

Saturday
1:30pm

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A Conversation with Reps. Beyer, Johnson, and Pocan

Representatives Don Beyer (Virginia's 8th congressional district), Hank Johnson (Georgia's 4th congressional district), and Mark Pocan (Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district), members of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, will be joined by Casey Brinck of the Secular Coalition for America and Mark Dann of the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Saturday
3pm

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Is Science Objective? Let's have a conversation.

Some people believe that religion is irrational and subjective whereas science is rational and objective. But if science is rational and objective, then why have scientific theories and practices been - and why do they continue to be - sexist, racist, cisheteronormative, and ableist? Standpoint epistemologists believe that everything, including science, is inherently political and influenced by the standpoints of individuals. In order to attain stronger objectivity, scientific communities need to include a more diverse range of perspectives and solicit feedback from marginalized groups.

Saturday
4:30pm

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Unlikely Allies: Upholding Secular Values in the Court and at the Capitol with Faith-Based, Religious Liberty, and Immigrant Rights Partners

The presentation will cover the work the American Humanist Association has done with faith-based, religious liberty, and immigrant rights partners both in recent prominent Supreme Court cases, in the U.S. Capitol with bi-partisan and interfaith efforts championing the repeal of global blasphemy laws, and immigrant rights coalition on access to COVID testing, treatment, and vaccination for all regardless of immigration status. We’ll share tools and ideas to help you build effective coalitions and to unite people of faith, conscience, and aligned goals in support of true religious freedom and human rights for all.

Sunday
9am

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Data & Diversity:
Expanding Our Understanding of the Secular Community

The ways in which people interact with secular communities necessarily reflect their background, their identities, and their cultural experiences. In this webinar, Alison and Debbie will discuss some of the challenges nonreligious Black people, trans people, and other racialized and sexual minorities face in secular communities, examine the available data from the U.S. Secular Survey, and discuss how we can make secular communities more welcoming and inclusive. While no one could deny that building strong, diverse secular communities is essential to the success of the secular movement, we too often hear that issues like racial justice and LGBTQ equality are not secular issues. We will counteract that myth and discuss why inclusivity is essential to achieve our movement's goals.

Sunday
10:30am

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'On the Basis of Sex':
Civil Rights after Bostock v. Clayton County

Rebecca Markert and Elizabeth Cavell be discussing the case, what it means for religious liberty, namely religious exemptions to the Civil Rights Act, and how that impacts civil rights moving forward particularly for transgender rights, and, of course, crucial to any discussion of civil rights progress moving forward is the issue of the make-up of the federal courts.

Sunday
12pm

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Respect and Contempt for Science: The Question of Public Understanding

It is common among people with a secular worldview to champion science as a tool for understanding the world and advancing the common good. In response, a traditional refrain has been to champion educational reform to produce more widespread scientific literacy, Anjan suggests that this response, while laudable, is conceived in an impracticable way. More importantly, it is mistaken about what would facilitate a public understanding that serves our needs. Scientific literacy is an excellent thing, but even more important (and practicable) in this sphere is a kind of philosophical literacy in relation to science, as a basis for public understanding.

Sunday
1:30pm

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A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence

Jeff Hawkins discusses his new book 'A Thousand Brains,' which heralds a revolution in the understanding of intelligence. It is a big-think book, in every sense of the word - unveiling a theory of intelligence that will revolutionize our understanding of the brain and the future of AI. The book can be purchased at www.athousandbrains.com

Sunday
3pm

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Embracing The Wonder and The Mystery of Being

In May of 2020, Jon Steingard, then frontman of the Christian band Hawk Nelson, revealed that he no longer believed in God. His lack of faith may have come as a surprise to fans of the band, but in reality, it developed over the course of several years.  Jon shares his journey from pastor's kid, being in a Christian rock band, his loss of faith, to what he believes as an agnostic, and how to be part of something “bigger than” himself.

Sunday
4:30pm

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Congressional Freethought Caucus: Christian Nationalism and the Capitol Insurrection

Members of the Congressional Freethought Caucus in discussion with secular scholars and religious advocates about the influences of Christian Nationalism on the rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

On-Demand
Video

chrissy circle

Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

How Unregulated Christian Education Harms Children and American Society

On-Demand
Video

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Mental Immunity: The Antidote to Infectious Ideas

Why are ideologies poisoning public discourse? Why is extremism on the rise? It turns out some influential assumptions are suppressing our culture’s “immune response” to dangerous ideas. These assumptions prevent us from normalizing critical thinking, and leave us vulnerable to mind-parasites. In this talk, philosopher Andy Norman will isolate an idea with a long history of inoculating people against the worst forms of ideological contagion, and argue that we can fashion it into a mind vaccine.

On-Demand
Video

phil circle

The Rise and Influence of Secular Voters

More and more Americans are becoming secular, and their voice is increasingly being heard in elections. In this talk, we’ll look at how secular voters influenced the recent national elections, and what to expect in the future.

On-Demand
Video

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Choosing Courage Over Audacity

A Pluralist Approach to Separation of Church and State